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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/Texas State Game

BYU football players run up the pregame tunnel before a game during the 2020 season. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – No. 12 BYU hosts the Texas State Bobcats in the first-ever meeting between them. The game will be played in front of 6,000 fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. It’s the first time this season LES will have fans in attendance live to watch BYU in action.

BYU is riding high this season with a 5-0 record, while the Bobcats from San Marcos are 1-5 and have lost their last three games.

This game was added to BYU’s 2020 schedule this past August after numerous scheduling changes due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. BYU will not make a return trip to Texas State as this will serve as a “guarantee game” for the Bobcats.

Here are three storylines going into Saturday’s late-night BYU-Texas State game that could determine the victor.

#1 BYU/Texas State Key To Watch: Will the Cougars jump out to a fast start?

Two weeks against UTSA, BYU was a five-touchdown favorite and found themselves down 3-0 after the first quarter. Will BYU allow another underdog from the Lone Star State to gain belief early as they did with the Roadrunners?

Texas State had a pair of close games against nationally-ranked SMU and Boston College from the ACC. The Bobcats lost those games by a total of 10 points. So they are used to being a heavy underdog and keeping things closer than expected.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake had a meeting with his team on Monday, telling them not to buy into the hype and their headlines and continue to take things one day as they try to move to 6-0 first time since 2008.

#2 Experience vs. Youth

Among FBS teams, Texas State leads the country right now with 23 first-time starters this season. BYU boasts 20 players who have started in games before this season. BYU’s experience makes the Cougars a four-touchdown favorite entering this game, and it’s highlighted at the most visible position, quarterback.

BYU is led by junior Zach Wilson, who is now 13-8 all-time as a starter with the Cougars. On the other side, Texas State will likely start Memphis transfer Brady McBride, in his first year as the starter. McBride is 0-4 this season.

#3 Defensive Touchdowns

If Texas State has any hope of keeping this game close, they’ll need an easy score or two. Lucky for them, the Bobcats are 11th nationally in defensive touchdowns this season. The bad news for Texas State is that BYU rarely coughs up the football this season. Zach Wilson has thrown only one interception, and the Cougars have only had two fumbles. All three of those turnovers resulted in zero points for BYU’s opposition.

BYU’s defense has only had four takeaways this season, but they should have opportunities against the Bobcats, who have coughed up the football at least once in each game this season.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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